Belfast Telegraph

Will.i.am hails greater 'freedom' on The Voice after show's switch to ITV

The Voice UK has been offered more "freedom" by its switch to ITV, returning coach Will.i.am has said.

The former Black Eyed Peas artist has appeared on every series of the show since it launched on BBC One in 2012 and compared the show's move across channels to a child being adopted.

Speaking at a preview screening of the first episode, which airs on Saturday night, Will.i.am told the Press Association: "It felt like an orphan. Mummy and daddy don't want me anymore.

"Then you find yourself in this new home and you walk into the house and you're like yeah ... because the stage is so spectacular.

"It's great to find this new family at ITV, although I love my parents at the BBC, my new dad and mum is awesome.

"They bought me a car and shit. They let me wear Adidas. They let me wear all the clothes I like.

"I got freedom over here at ITV. They are really fresh."

He added he was excited to be reunited with Sir Tom Jones, who returns to the singing competition as a coach after being axed by the BBC in 2015.

Sir Tom told the Press Association that ITV had made the show "more exciting".

He said: "I think because its commercial television and its done in sections that can be exciting.

"It feels more relaxed to me but all in all it's got the same fire to it because of the format."

And the pair played down the rivalry between the show and the BBC's latest singing competition - Gary Barlow's Let It Shine - which aims to find five singers for a Take That musical.

Sir Tom said: "It's a different show. I don't think you can compare one to the other but that's up to the public.

" If you're up against another one, on another channel, then so be it. I think there's room for it."

Will.i.am said: "We have people coming up against us, thinking they can slide right around our time slot, so what. We're the headliners, watch The Voice, see the drama, see the amazingness, boom."

The pair will be joined on the coaching panel for the sixth series by newcomers Jennifer Hudson and Gavin Rossdale.

Hudson, who launched her career on American Idol in 2004, was picked out as the one to watch by Will.i.am.

He said: "She actually has more experience than us all. Because she's been on the other side. She's been a singer, she's sung and lost and then took that loss into the biggest victory in the world.

"She's the one we're all looking out for. She's Jennifer Hudson, she's dope."

:: The Voice UK airs on ITV at 8pm on Saturday.

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